by Alan McBride
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A year after a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, some polls indicate that people are again favoring expanded offshore drilling in the Florida waters of the Gulf. Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is not among them.
Nelson says there are 30 million acres offshore that are under lease and cleared for drilling already. He says those acres are off the Texas and Louisiana coasts, in well-mapped territory. That's also in addition to the seven million acres already in active development
"So they certainly don't need to be drilling off the coast of Florida," he said.
Nelson said such a vast amount of sea bottom in the Gulf is ready for drilling, free and clear, that it defies all reason and logic to want to bring more drilling closer to Florida's coast without utilizing these existing resources first.
Nelson also notes that the eastern Gulf near Florida shores is home to a classified military training and test range.
He says drilling in this area would compromise national security efforts.
There is no measure on the state agenda to take up the issue of expanded offshore drilling, but it remains a possibility during this session.